Sunday, November 15, 2015

Day 24: Life Without Simon

By Cal Orey
Brothers and sisters I bid you beware Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Rudyard Kipling

May 28, 2003-Oct. 23, 2015
Today is Sunday, November 15, almost three weeks living without my beloved canine companion, Simon. I now am learning the loss of a loved one terminology. "Complicated grief" to "A new normal" are phrases I digest. I know that my life with two dogs and a cat has changed.  It's different...  

The Dark Side
A dog day afternoon
  • Last night I couldn't sleep (usually this isn't a problem). Worse, a tsunami-like wave of sadness paid me a visit again out of nowhere when I realized it was no longer a two dog night--no more dog Simon smiles that John Steinbeck wrote about in his work. I have one 55- pound young, fun-loving Australian Shepherd (whom I am grateful to Simon because he groomed him to be a wonderful canine--strong and loyal). He is part of Simon--it's our connection to a dog we adored.
    Healthy, happy a while back
  • In the morning I can no longer call out: "Come on 'boys!' because there is one boy dog who I feed, let outdoors and indoors.  It's an odd feeling; especially last night when I called my Aussie by the wrong name "Simon"... No, I'm not losing my mind as my beloved Brittany did, it's difficult to accept that he is no more. Didn't Poe's The Raven show how one went mad from grief?
  • Being owned by two canines is having the best of both worlds, especially if they are different breeds--a sporting dog and herding dog balanced me. Simon was heady (he loved any film with a dog including Simon's dog Verdell, a small dog in As Good As It Gets to Marley and Me (ironically, I always turned off the sad ending part), outgoing, and friendly to two-leggers and four-leggers (little dogs); Skye is physical, standoffish to strangers, and a cuddle boy to me. Naturally, there is void because the traits have downgraded since I am a one dog lady these days. 
  • My Rock, a Fading Memory
    but Eternal
    The healthiest dog in my life, our bond lives
  • On cold, snowy nights I no longer have Simon to keep me warm underneath the covers. Skye does sleep on the bed (but with his dense coat) he usually snoozes on top of the comforters and on the pillows next to me.

Skye acts like Simon
will walk indoors any time
The Light(er) Side
  • For a short spell, Simon did deal and morph with the cruel aging process like Marley; it was difficult to watch my once agile, brainiac pooch having sporadic difficulty jumping up into the car, and then bed (but he did it with assistance) and forgetting all commands--and recognize me or my family.  He struggled to maintain alpha dog...but when dementia set in it and Simon's mind and spirit were AWOL it was time to say goodbye. 
  • Changing his food to keep him healthy was something I did a year ago. Yes, it was pricey. Now, I only feed one dog. In fact, financially tending to a dog duo's needs can be a challenge (nail trimmings, teeth cleanings, boarding with extras, and any health needs that come up).  I never complained; I'm sure my bank enjoyed the interest I paid. 
  • For months and months, Simon (dealing with an odd wake cycle) got the Aussie, cat, and me up at 5:00 AM or earlier so I adjusted my sleep routine around him. (I confess I liked the boys roughhousing on the bed last year. It was endearing.) Nowadays, I can sleep into 8:00 AM--it's a strange new normalcy like being on a trip out of the country but never coming back home.
Simon was raised by Kerouac

  • Onto Zen, my Siamese-mix who was always zen-like. He did sense Simon was "off" and began living on top of counters, high furniture to hiding and being less social and staying clear of his cat trees and an aggressive dog that no longer was sweet Simon, the senior gentleman.  These days, kitty sleeps on the bed like he used to when Simon was well, enjoys his trees, and walks by the Aussie without issues. He's safe. He's content. He senses stable energy in our home.
Zen is calm...but knows I'm sad

No I do not have regrets that I let go and allowed Simon to go to the other side. It was his time and we made the humane decision. But yes, I so miss my 12 1/2-year-old Brittany more than life itself.  Each day I feel it's getting a little easier to adjust to the void but if I could have my healthy, happy boy back I'd do it in a heartbeat. And now I sit everywhere he did and I look around me and tally the leftovers. One Aussie who misses Simon, one cat who's got his mojo back, and me--a dog loving woman who is facing life without Simon.

Update: Last night I had a dream. A message from heaven? In the realistic saga, I was trying to reconnect to my Brittany but could not do it. Stuck in a city, desperately trying to get back home. However, today I realize I did make a "connection"--before I awoke, I saw him, he was happy, healthy and fine. I recall seeing his docked tail wagging. His spirit is with us...I feel a calmness.

No comments:

Post a Comment